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March 15th, 2014
11:23 AM ET

Five things you didn't know about Jesus

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, special to CNN

(CNN) - With Easter approaching, and the movie “Son of God” playing in wide release, you’re going to hear a lot about Jesus these days.

You may hear revelations from new books that purport to tell the “real story” about Jesus, opinions from friends who have discovered a “secret” on the Web about the son of God, and airtight arguments from co-workers who can prove he never existed.

Beware of most of these revelations; many are based on pure speculation and wishful thinking. Much of what we know about Jesus has been known for the last 2,000 years.

Still, even for devout Christian there are surprises to be found hidden within the Gospels, and thanks to advances in historical research and archaeological discoveries, more is known about his life and times.

With that in mind, here are five things you probably didn't know about Jesus.

1.) Jesus came from a nowhere little town.

Nearly all modern-day archaeologists agree the town of Nazareth had only 200 to 400 people. Jesus’ hometown is mentioned nowhere in either the Old Testament or the Talmud, which notes dozens of other towns in the area.

In fact, in the New Testament it is literally a joke.

In the Gospel of John, when a man named Nathanael hears the messiah is “Jesus of Nazareth,” he asks, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” He’s dissing Jesus’ crummy backwater town.

2.) Jesus probably didn’t know everything.

This is a thorny theological question. If Jesus is divine, wouldn’t he know all things? (Indeed, on several occasions Jesus predicts his death and resurrection.)

On the other hand, if he had a human consciousness, he needed to be taught something before he could know it. The Gospel of Luke says that when Jesus was a young man he “progressed” in wisdom. That means he learned things. (Otherwise how would he “progress”?)

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus initially refuses to heal the daughter of a non-Jewish woman, saying rather sharply, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

But when she replies that even the dogs get the crumbs from the table, Jesus softens, and he heals her daughter. He seems to be learning that his ministry extends beyond the Jewish people.

3.) Jesus was tough.

From age 12 to 30, Jesus worked in Nazareth as a carpenter. “Is not this the carpenter?” say the astonished crowds when he begins to preach.

The word used for Jesus’ profession in the original Greek is tekton. The traditional translation is “carpenter.” But most contemporary scholars say it’s more likely a general craftsman; some even translate it as “day laborer.”

A tekton would have made doors, tables, lamp stands and plows. But he probably also built stone walls and helped with house construction.

It was tough work that meant lugging tools, wood and stones all over Galilee. Jesus doesn’t simply stride onto the world stage after having dreamily examined a piece of wood when the mood suited him. For 18 years, he worked—and worked hard.

4.) Jesus needed “me time.”

The Gospels frequently speak of Jesus’ need to “withdraw” from the crowds, and even his disciples.

Today by the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus carried out much of his ministry, you can see how close the towns were, and how natural it would have been for the enthusiastic crowds to “press” in on him, as the Gospels describe.

There’s even a cave on the shoreline, not far from Capernaum, his base of operations, where he may have prayed.

It’s called the “Eremos Cave,” from the word for “desolate” or “solitary,” from which we get the word “hermit.” Even though Jesus was the son of God, he needed time alone in prayer with the father.

5.) Jesus didn’t want to die.

As he approaches his death, and prays hard in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus says, “Remove this cup.” It’s a blunt prayer addressed to the father, whom he affectionately calls Abba. He doesn’t want to die.

Unlike the way some Christians portray Jesus as courting death, and even desiring it, like any human being, the idea of death is terrifying. “My soul is sorrowful even unto death,” he says.

In other words, “I’m so sad that it feels like I’m going to die.” But once Jesus realizes that this is somehow the will of the father, he assents to death, even on a cross.

It’s natural to want to know as much as we can about Jesus; that’s one reason I wrote my new book. But beware of the more outlandish claims about the son of God (he fathered children, he was married to Mary Magdalene, he spent time in India and so on.)

Many of these claims tend to project our own desires on a man who will always remain somewhat elusive, hard to fully understand and impossible to pin down.

In the end, as theologians like to say, Jesus is not so much a problem to be solved as a mystery to be pondered.

The Rev. James Martin is a Jesuit priest, editor of America magazine and author of the new book "Jesus: A Pilgrimage" (HarperOne). The views expressed in this column belong to Martin. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Easter • Jesus • Opinion

soundoff (3,128 Responses)
  1. jknbt

    nice article, thanks, preacher!

    March 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • scottsinnock

      Jesus also said, it seems to me, to ignore good and evil, God's kingdom is not divided, don't use Beelzebub to cast out Beelzebub. Judge not, neither good nor evil.

      March 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  2. SeaVik

    "Beware of most of these revelations; many are based on pure speculation and wishful thinking. Much of what we know about Jesus has been known for the last 2,000 years."

    After making this statement, the author goes on to use a 2,000 year old work of fiction as his source of revelations. Is it really possible that he doesn't see the irony?

    March 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
  3. karali1975

    If everyone kept their feelings about jesus private, we'd be in much better shape since none of you can agree on your voodoo god anyhow.

    March 17, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
    • aknj

      I think most people here mean well, yourself included, even if there are disagreements. It is written that God reveals to each according to their faith, so no surprise that we all have our own view and I for one honor them all, including yours. Just know that no matter what your view, he loves just the same.

      March 17, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
      • doobzz

        "Just know that no matter what your view, he loves just the same."

        But he'll still send you to hell if you don't love him back the right way.

        March 17, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • aknj

          I can understand your comment, but here's what I realized when I read the gospel, that grace (undeserved favor) is the most amazing thing about God and Jesus brought it to fruition. The more one of us humans feel condemned for all the horrible deeds we have committed, the more He wants to save us. I agree there is a hell and there are those who end up there, but it is not because God wants them there, but because they never came to Him with a humble heart. I believe that no one is lost until their last breath, all they need is to cry out to God in complete humility. Jesus said this himself, I didn't come to save the righteous but those who are drowning in their sins. God does love us all the same.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • doobzz

          Love me or I'll burn your sorry ass forever is not a choice, no matter how you dress it up with pretty words.

          March 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • ausphor

          akjn
          The catch 22, you have to believe in him, it is quite clear. John3:16

          March 17, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • aknj

          doobzz
          And if I may, however you dress it up, you are still loved by Him. I agree that you may chose not to love him back but he will keep fighting for you till the very end. Speaking figuratively, I know you and understand you because not too long ago I was you, but he kept fighting for me. The more I hated him, the more he loved me, until one day! So in this sense, you may not have a choice because his love is way stronger than our hatred.

          March 17, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • doobzz

          Oh, please, you know nothing about me and understand me even less, you condescending fool. I was a Christian for over fifty years. I've read the bible cover to cover at least nine or ten times, studied it in several languages and with a tutor.

          I don't hate god any more than I hate Mother Goose. I just recognize the bible for what it is – a story, nothing more.

          I guess next you'll tell me I was never a True Christian™?

          March 17, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • aknj

          doobzz
          I am really sorry, I didn't mean to offend or presume. I should have kept the discussion about me. I guess we all follow our heart and I love your spirit and conviction. As for me I believe with all my heart that God loves us all the same. He wants us to love him, but he doesn't let us be, he comes back again and again to reclaim us. Be well.

          March 17, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
        • doobzz

          Fair enough. A long and healthy life to you and yours as well.

          March 17, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
  4. feritq

    and he wasn't a white guy.

    March 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
    • karali1975

      Says who? YOU? Or Wikipedia, where all dumb people go for their "facts" – That is the issue with the bible, you all think you are correct, yet none of you agree on anything and you are making declarative statements without citing sources or providing proof. Therefore, your religion is a burning and destructive lie that is dividing people rather than bringing them together.

      March 17, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
      • karali1975

        PS – let me stop you while you are ahead – Your bible is not PROOF – it is a rumor and a gossip sheet written and re-written by manipulative human beings hungry for control and power of others for hundreds of years

        March 17, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • Alias

          Have all the aggressive tirades you want .
          He still wasn't white.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
      • feritq

        he was palestinian and those people were never white.

        March 28, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
  5. wilburw7

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-FVMHdBxSWbo/UXbZM5keDLI/AAAAAAAAPts/yXlNUuJSNLk/s1600/e0425927b3df542921be383a05e733fe.jpg

    March 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • Doris

      lol

      March 17, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • doobzz

      Man, Robert Downey, Jr. is everywhere!

      March 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
      • Akira

        I dunno, could be Keanu Reeves. A poster for "The Devil's Advocate ", perhaps? His own work on Deviantart?

        It's silly.

        March 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • doobzz

          I love how Wilbur thinks this is a convincing argument. Poor little attention addict.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • Akira

          I still think he's very, very young.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • ausphor

      Wilbur
      You passed bible camp, summa c-um laude, perhaps?

      March 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
  6. jj2jag

    Rev Martin, I don't mean to offend but I think this column has quite a few inaccuracies.

    1. I'm not even sure what you mean by "...the New Testament is literally a joke." If this is how you feel, perhaps you are in the wrong line of work?

    2. It seems you have completely missed the character of Jesus when you reference the story of the non-Jewish woman. Jesus was not "progressing" in this instance. He was putting to test the woman's faith. You should know this from the number of times Jesus mentions the importance of faith, and how often he questions and tests the faith of people. Context is important here.

    3. You got this number point right. Jesus was certainly tough. Anyone who innocently withstands gruesome torture without even condemning a single individual involved is beyond tough.

    4. To say Jesus was in need of "me time" makes him sound selfish. Jesus didn't remove himself from the crowds to enjoy a day at the spa – he did it to allow time for mediation and prayer with the Father. I think the wording you use here is misleading.

    5. Jesus wasn't afraid of death – he was afraid of the excruciating pain he knew he was about to face. The "cup" that he wanted removed was the torture and crucifixion he was about to endure.

    Regardless, I would encourage people who are genuinely curious about the character of Jesus to actually read the entire New Testament without bias. There's a reason people flocked to Jesus en masse during his time.

    March 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • Carl Chomko

      I agree with most of your questions, but as for the first, make sure you're quoting him correctly. He said that Jesus being from a small town was actually a joke IN THE New Testament. He didn't call the New Testament a joke.

      March 17, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
    • Doris

      Reading comprehension, jj2jag??

      Are you talking about where the author states:

      "In fact, in the New Testament it is literally a joke." [regarding the previous paragraph] ??

      March 17, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      "5. Jesus wasn't afraid of death – he was afraid of the excruciating pain he knew he was about to face. The "cup" that he wanted removed was the torture and crucifixion he was about to endure."
      ------
      The "Cup" that Jesus referred to was not the mortal suffering of the cross, but was rather the wrath of God and the separation between He who became sin, and God who cannot look upon sin. If we say that Jesus merely feared the pains of death, then we place Him below those many martyrs who went to the burning stake singing hymns of praise that they were found worthy to suffer for Christ's sake.

      March 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        Isaiah 51:17, 22 – Rouse yourself! Rouse yourself! Arise, O Jerusalem, You who have drunk from the Lord’s hand the cup of His anger; The chalice of reeling you have drained to the dregs. Thus says your Lord, the Lord, even your God Who contends for His people, “Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of reeling, The chalice of My anger; You will never drink it again.

        Revelation 14:10 – he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

        March 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
    • Akira

      As the woman wasn't Jewish, why would He test her faith in a religion she didn't believe in?
      Actually, it looks like the opposite was true. SHE tested HIS beliefs. Which is why he threw aside his pre-conceived notions and healed her daughter.
      Hey, it's as good of a theory as yours.

      So wanting to be alone with one's thoughts isn't "me" time? Semantics.

      Oh, PS: why are your observations any more valid than his?

      March 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
      • Akira

        And I want to make it clear that I am asking jj2jag.

        March 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        "Oh, PS: why are your observations any more valid than his?"

        They aren't which is why they have 42,000 different denominations...

        March 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • Akira

          Lol, I know. Everyone's an expert and their way is the only True™ way.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
    • SeaVik

      I wonder if Christians realize how stupid they look when they argue about the meaning behind a work of fiction. It's fiction, you can interpret it however you want and you're all equally right / wrong!

      March 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
      • memanix

        Never been near the literature department at a university, I hazard a guess? Fiction or not, clearly it's not "everything goes."

        March 18, 2014 at 10:14 am |
  7. wilburw7

    IF Jesus did not raise from the dead, then no humans have the abilty to enter heaven. We are all sinners and sin does not belong in heaven.

    March 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
    • igaftr

      YOU may be a sinner, but I am not. To sin, one would require a god to exist, and since you can't show any god to exist, your concept of sin is invalid.
      Keep your BS to yourself, and don't try to insult others by claiming they are "sinners".

      Yours is a simple case of belief gone wild, where you cannot distinguish belief from truth,to the point where it has clouded your judgement.
      Join us in reality.

      March 17, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
      • wilburw7

        Why do you go to an article about Jesus and say;"Keep your BS to yourself"? Why did you chose a Jesus story if you don't want to hear about Jesus?

        March 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • igaftr

          Apparently, the story being BS was one of the things you didn't know about Jesus...better?

          March 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • wilburw7

          igaftr, You are finally correct. You are right that I do not know the story is BS. Because it isn't BS.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • Doris

          Gee can you prove that, wilbur? You sound awfully sure of yourself...

          March 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • SeaVik

          I read this article because I was curious to see what the five things I didn't know about Jesus were. Unfortunately, I just learned about five things written in a book of fiction about a guy who may not have ever existed at all.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
    • Alias

      If your god cannot allow people to enter heaven without killing his son, then he is not all powerful.
      If your god required a ninnocent man to die, he is not very loving or forgiving.

      March 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
      • wilburw7

        Jesus is God. You sinned and it was beyond your abilty to pay for your sin. A just God had to punish every single sin, so He had to pay for it or watch you burn in hell forever. He was loving enough to pay a horrible price for your salvation. Astonishingly, you have chosen to burn in hell anyway.

        March 17, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • Doris

          wilbur continues to use the fundy method of inquiry and verification which works like this:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FoT_18fJ2k

          March 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • igaftr

          You have it wrong. It is YOU who have chosen to allow another to take your just punishment, proving you do not love him. If you did, you would not allow him to stand in your place. Just one of the base immoralities that comprise christianity.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • Akira

          Fire and brimstone didn't do Fred Phelps any good, either.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • raven100382

          How can one sin beyond their ability for redemption, what does that take. How can a person be responsible for a sin committed before they were born? If everyone can be blamed for sins committed by ancient forefathers then those descended from slaves can seek redress from those who descend from slave owners. The Jews can seek redress from those descended from Nazis. Wilbur, do you not see the flaw in this logic?

          March 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          If you had been told you could catch a cold and die if you took a bath i'd imagine you would smell pretty ripe and would fight any attempt to wash you. Wilbur here has been told all his life that he's a sinner and must do little rituals in order to not be tortured so I can understand why it's difficult for him and so many others to leave their little rituals behind as they are a security blanket to the indoctrinated.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • observer

          "He was loving enough to pay a horrible price for your salvation."

          God's "price" was to have to wait THREE DAYS for the son who was GUARANTEED to join him in heaven.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
      • kudlak

        Yup! What kind of dad looks at some mistake that he made, and decides to put his son through Hell (literally) instead of just manning up and fixing it himself? It just doesn't make an ounce of sense.

        March 17, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      • linsea50

        The demands of justice must be met, Alias. Every time we sin, we cause someone harm and pain. We are incapable of making up for that harm and pain ourselves. Jesus was willing to take on that burden and that pain on our behalf.

        March 17, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • kudlak

          linsea50
          As humans, we sometimes harm others. That's not always wrong. Sometimes we have to put the welfare of ourselves and our loved ones before that of others. Many people's successes come at the cost of other people's failures. That's just the way things are. You can't feel guilty for winning the gold at the Olympics if it causes pain to the losers, right?

          We can at least try to make up for harm and pain ourselves, which is something that isn't stressed very much in Christian circles.

          Jesus was willing to take on your burden and that pain on your behalf as long as you believe that he did. How is that any different from someone just forgiving themselves for all the wrongs they've committed? Does it actually make the world a better place if people concentrate more on getting rid of their guilt than trying to fix their mistakes?

          March 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • linsea50

          Of course you have to have faith in Christ. And you also have to repent and turn away from your sins.

          March 17, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
    • Doris

      Sin is so obviously a man-made construct. There's no decent evidence to support the fear-instilling claims of the motor-mouthed Saul of Tarsus.

      March 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
      • wilburw7

        When you are in the flames of hell with no escape, don't yell out "no body told us." I told you repeatedly.

        "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Hebrews 9:27

        March 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • Doris

          You go ahead and worry about your alleged afterlife. Don't dirty up my present life with your BS.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          The premise of the Christian dogma..... that we all deserve punishment because we live in a fallen world because of something someone did thousands of years ago and now we can get out of that punishment if we only believe certain things is not a "Good Plan". It is an awful plan. The whole premise is immoral and I get tired of hearing how moral and "just" it is when it is one of the most vile concepts man has created.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • wilburw7

          You in the future:

          http://ts2.mm.bing.net/th?id=HN.607989493122206581&w=242&h=177&c=7&rs=1&pid=1.7

          March 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Threats of eternal punishment betray a weak argument.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • Akira

          Oooooooh, Wilbur.
          What are you, about 12?

          March 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • igaftr

          So wilber, when you stand before Zeus, and you tell him why you worshipped the wrong god, what will you tell him?

          March 17, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "When you are in the flames of hell with no escape,"

          And to think anyone would wish to spend any time with you!! What a horrible person you are!! Believing in a god that would do this and then in turn repeating it like you're somehow better.
          There's a valid reason we want no part of your ilk. Keep this up though, you're only hurting your belief system and benefiting our side!

          March 17, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
      • wilburw7

        Actually Satan invented sin.

        March 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • Doris

          You're just full of funny little claims that you can't prove, arent'cha wilburrrrr

          March 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • igaftr

          or all you know wilbur, Satan does exist, and HE inspired your bible be written, and you are following the word of Satan.
          Considering the violent and horrible history of christianity, that makes more sense than goddidit.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • raven100382

          Actually, no. According to Genesis it was God who called them Sinners. Satan just pushed Adam and Eve to the choice, but he didn't make it for them, that is supported by the argument you made above that all are sinners because of what Adam and Eve did. Ergo, Sin existed (in concept at least) before Adam and Eve sinned. If Satan had created sin then God would have punished him, the sinner, per your arguments.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • kudlak

          Back in the Garden, if the snake was Satan, how did he sin? He said that they wouldn't die if they ate the fruit, like God warned, which makes God the lier, not him. Even if you take the theological path, God punished them with eventual death for disobeying.

          If you're alluding to the supposed rebellion of Satan in heaven, how was that a sin? If God gave him free will, why punish him for using it to determine that he wanted freedom? Don't you like freedom?

          March 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • doobzz

      Wilburw7 is starting to look like just a regular old attention whore with all the insults and quote vomiting, proxy threats and non answers.

      March 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        I agree but then that leads me to wonder what happened to Austin.
        Either way, wilbur sounds like he just left the trailer park, if he even has.

        March 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • doobzz

          Wilbur sounds a lot like Dala to me, arguing for the sake of arguing and never answering a question directly.

          I noticed Austin's absence too. I hope he's okay.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Very good point.
          As for Austin, as crazy as he came across, I would only wish for him to get help.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • doobzz

          Me too. Austin reminds me of a friend of mine who battled bipolar disorder. He acted just like Austin when he became a born again Christian, always looking for devils and divine revelations.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
    • doobzz

      If you couldn't threaten people with hell, how would you get their attention?

      March 17, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • kudlak

      What's wrong with God just opening the gate and saying "All are welcome"? If anything, doing it your way just seems like an excuse to have the other place for God to send the people who don't want to kowtow to him.

      March 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
  8. Reality

    Also, "google" Crossan Inventory.

    March 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
  9. primatica

    If humans become extinct and the Roaches evolve and take over, will their Messiah come back from the dead after a trip to the roach motel?

    March 17, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • kudlak

      He might recover from a spray, but not from a full on squishing from a pointy-toed shoe. Probably! Depending on whether his disciples manage to remove his body before the broom gets to him. 🙂

      March 17, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
    • akismet-45c2661e685d18f3977a1f358bec3259

      The roaches already have taken over. They are called republicans now though. It is the evolution of language.

      March 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
  10. jhg45

    6 he would not have long hair,(1Cor. 11:14) and 7 he would never have worn a cross around his neck or anywhere else.

    March 17, 2014 at 10:40 am |
    • whippstippler7

      And you know this how?

      March 17, 2014 at 11:21 am |
      • jhg45

        it is all in the scriptures. long hair was a dishonor, (1 Cor.11:14) the cross was a pagan idol and Jesus was hung on a pole, straight up and not with arms out. if you do the research on the Greek word "stauros" which he was hung on you will see it was never a cross but the pole or tree with arms above the head. the only way they did it. check it out. cross is a mistranslation and has been used to cause people to idolize an image which is also something Jesus would never do.

        March 17, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • igaftr

          A distinction without a difference. Most likely it never happened in the first place.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
    • kudlak

      Not to sound insensitive, but Jesus did wear one cross, right?

      March 17, 2014 at 11:25 am |
      • Alias

        Actually I think it wore him.
        I'll aviod the obvious irony jokes about everyone getting even.

        March 17, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • jhg45

          see above reply to whip.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • kudlak

          jhg45
          The point that "Cursed is he who hangs from a tree" would disqualify anyone from being any kind of messiah was not lost on the early Christians, which is why they invented the convoluted theology that his death this way amounted to some kind of sacrifice to redeem everyone.

          It requires a long, complicated mix mash of word salad that sounds like it's coming from a Jedi doing his mind trick on somebody, but the theology exists, as amazing as that sounds.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • Akira

      Are you saying people were not crucified by the Romans? Seriously?

      March 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • jhg45

        seriously, impaled not crucified.

        March 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
      • jhg45

        and it was the Jews that had him impaled, Pilate wanted nothing to do with him. saw nothing wrong with him.

        March 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
  11. dlcarr1985

    There's something peculiar how atheist trying to push their agenda making all of their smart aleck comments and trying to make Christians look foolish. It's funny how that a man name Jesus and a few fisherman have survived for 2000 years and Christianity is still going strong. History has tried to demolish her, governments have tried to extinguish it, millions of Christians have been killed and we are going through the ebbs and flow. It's not popular being a Christian and it seems there is an exodus of people leaving the church but we have been here before and a Revival will take place and a genuine repentance will occur and The Church will thrive Gods people will rejoice. Let them say what they will but there is no denying the impact Christ made on this world . And not every Christian is a dumb hick from the hills without an education or common sense. Bring whatever arguments you have we still love and are praying for you and have no animosity towards you we love you and pray Christ will make his mark on you before you leave this world

    March 17, 2014 at 10:38 am |
    • seedenbetter

      Oh give me a fucking break!

      March 17, 2014 at 10:40 am |
      • dlcarr1985

        That's deep not very conversational. Don't comment on issues like this if u can't have an adult conversation with some decency and respect no matter who your comments are toward

        March 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Last century, L Ron Hubbard wrote a book, as foolish as it is, making all sorts of outrageous and outlandish claims, backed up by zero evidence, and he has millions of followers.

      200 years ago, Joseph Smith wrote a book, as foolish as it is, making all sorts of outrageous and outlandish claims, backed up by zero evidence, and he has tens of millions of followers.

      A few thousand years ago, unnamed desert dwelling goat herders wrote a book, making all sorts of outrageous and outlandish claims, backed up by zero evidence, and they have hundreds of millions of followers.

      Do you see that the only thing that makes your christian religion more popular than any other of these obvious scams is the amount of time it has had for your deluded cult members to breed and indoctrinate their children.

      So have a good think about how preposterous scientology and mormonism sound to you, and know that christianity is just the same thing with a bigger head start.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:41 am |
      • Reality

        And for some finishing touches:

        (only for the new visitors to this blog)

        Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

        • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

        • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

        • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

        • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

        • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

        • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

        • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

        • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinker bells? etc.) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

        Added details available upon written request.

        A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

        e.g. Taoism

        "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

        Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

        March 17, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • kbsamurai

          just this "Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism."

          shows an incredibly superficial understanding buddhism that leaves the rest of your post just laughable. If religion is not your thing fine, but you probably should then just stay quiet so as not to reveal just how shallow your understanding is of these world religions.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • Reality

          Added details, as requested:

          Only for the those interested in a religious update:

          1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

          “New Torah For Modern Minds

          Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

          Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

          The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
          prob•a•bly
          Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

          2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

          The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

          earlychristianwritings.com/

          For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

          Current RCC problems:

          Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

          2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

          Current problems:
          Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

          3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

          This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

          And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

          Current crises:

          The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

          4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

          The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

          Current problems:

          The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

          5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

          "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

          Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

          Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

          Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

          March 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • linsea50

          Wow, you still haven't learned how do more than cut-and-paste, 'Reality?'

          March 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • Reality

          Said copy and paste is from my collection and personal writings based on reading and reviews of each religion. You can counter these findings to debate said conclusions.

          March 17, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
      • wilburw7

        Jesus raising from the dead was not proof? Jesus walking on water was not proof? So what proof did you have in mind?

        March 17, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Are the stone tablets on which the Epic of Gilgamesh were etched evidence that he was a demi-god who ruled for 125 years and took a trip to the Underworld?

          March 17, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • rixter0910

          And your proof comes from a text written by people that were not there to witness....great rebuttal.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I would expect an all powerful god to do better than cheap palor tricks.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • ekitse

          Walter Williams rose from the dead and lived for two weeks. http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/13/us/mississippi-walter-williams-dead/

          Apparently rising from the dead is not the exclusive domain of the savior.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • igaftr

          wilbur
          "Jesus raising from the dead was not proof? Jesus walking on water was not proof?

          No...those are the claims, not the proof. Proof would be something that shows those things actually happened.
          See the difference?

          March 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • doobzz

          It would be if you could show it actually happened, peanut brain.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • Reality

          Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

          From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

          Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

          To wit;

          From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

          "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
          Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

          Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

          Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

          The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

          Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

          The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

          "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
          http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

          The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

          With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

          An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

          p.4

          "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

          p.168. by Ted Peters:

          Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

          So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • Reality

          Mark 6: 45-52 (The walking on water myth)

          "Mark seems to have altered Homer's adventure story into a rescue miracle by attributing to Jesus traits not of a hero but of a deity, like Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, the Dioscuri, or Aeolus. Had the disciples read their Homer, they would have known how to answer their own question: "Who is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?" Jesus was not like Odysseus but like Aeolus, "for Zeus had made that king master of all the winds, with power to calm them down or rouse them as he pleased." (p. 60)"

          See also: http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb128.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann's studies in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years.

          See

          March 17, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • willthefree

      I will only point out that there is a difference between atheists and anti-theists. You seem to be describing reading the comments of anti-theists, who are out to expose religion as fraudulent. An atheist just doesn't believe in god.

      Personally, I don't deny the cultural impact of religion on our society and much of the world. But I don't want any religious-based legislation pushed on me either.

      At the end of the day, I would fight a war for you to be able to believe whatever you want. But it's just that – your beliefs. So you are free to believe whatever you want, but understand that beliefs by definition have no proof, and therefore should not be part of society of laws.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:44 am |
      • heartofafish

        Why would you die for the sake of others willthefree? What would propel you to do that? Maybe a better question would be, do you believe that someone's right to believe whatever they want is higher than yourself and therefore you find that worthy enough to die for? If so, then isn't it just a belief of your's that their right to a belief is higher than yourself? Therefore you are willing to die for a belief yourself? And if you are willing to die for a belief yourself then isn't what you said misunderstood at best and contradictory at worst? Just asking logical questions from the statements you made.

        March 17, 2014 at 10:57 am |
        • Alias

          So if someone if willing to fight for our rights, then we must believe inpowers rgeater than ourselves, and your god must exist.
          Excellent christian logic.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:20 am |
        • willthefree

          OK, so I replied to your post once already, but CNN didn't take it. Let me try again and I apologize if this shows as a duplicate.

          Two points – the first is that there is a difference between "belief" when it relates to a social structure versus the existence of a deity. The former implies "support" where the latter implies "acceptance without evidence". They don't chain together – because I support your right to believe does not mean that I agree with what you believe, anymore than my believing that you should be allowed to eat whatever you want means that I have to like salmon if you do.

          Second, I am still acting out of my own self-interest when I support your beliefs (in the biblical sense) because I want my family and children to be free to make their own decisions as to what to believe. Because this by proxy means I support someone else's belief in a deity doesn't mean that I believe in that deity, or that I am placing that person's interests ahead of my own.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @heartofafish,
          Fighting for the rights of others is fighting for the rights of all, including oneself. How is that not rational, I.e. non-faith based, behavior?

          P.s. aren't fish cold-blooded?

          March 17, 2014 at 11:23 am |
        • heartofafish

          All three of you (alias, midwest and will) are making assumptions I have not made. willthepowers you made the following statement: "but understand that beliefs by definition have no proof, and therefore should not be part of society of laws." Is that true will? Beliefs have no proof? I will stop there because I want to address your rebuttal (as well as the other two rebuttals). On what basis would you fight for? Are you just a fighting mad person that would fight for no proof? If I come to you and say to you: your neighbor stole your TV, based on what you have stated you would just go and physically rough up the guy because you are acting on a belief. However, if I call you at work and I say to you, hey will I am watching someone break into your house and they are stealing your TV I would assume you would act on it. However, until you see it for your ownself you are acting on a belief by trusting me as your neighbor to be telling you the truth. So, let's go back to your original statement: belief has no proof. I would say that it takes proof to have a belief. There is some level of comfortableness within yourself to go and die for someone else to believe in something because of your belief in something. I mean have you ever seen or witness freedom tangibly. I am not talking about the effects of the word freedom, I am talking about tangible freedom. Have you ever seen rights tangibly? The bottom line is, we believe in things in America that are not tangible, but millions of people have died over those beliefs because of the hope these beliefs bring us. But the bottom line is, you have never SEEN love, or SEEN hope or SEEN anything intangible. But you believe in them or you would not have made the statement I mentioned above. The bottom line is there is an intrinsic value in every human that you find compelling enough to do something about it. So don't just say, "Belief has no proof" because that is an incorrect statement. And I am not even talking about God or Jesus. I am talking about what you know to be true because you know it regardless of what others say. It is so powerful that you say you are willing to go and die for it.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
    • mk

      You're right. It's not necessary for anyone to make Christians look foolish.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:50 am |
    • MidwestKen

      @dlcar1985,
      If that's your criteria then why aren't you jewish or hindu?

      March 17, 2014 at 10:57 am |
      • dlcarr1985

        Because I believe Jesus is the way the truth the life. That's why I may christian

        March 17, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        @dlcarrr...,
        So length of survival is not your criteria of truth of a religion... then why use it as an argument for the truth of Christianity?

        March 17, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
    • ausphor

      dica....
      A revival will take place, sorry the religions can no longer keep knowledge to themselves. The spread of knowledge is killing off religions around the world, get used to it.

      March 17, 2014 at 11:03 am |
    • LinCA

      @dlcarr1985

      You said, "There's something peculiar how atheist trying to push their agenda making all of their smart aleck comments and trying to make Christians look foolish."
      It's not an agenda, and it doesn't take atheists to make believers look foolish. It's an attempt to cure believers of their delusion. It's a public service and ridiculing them is often the only thing left after reasoning with them fails.

      You said, "It's funny how that a man name Jesus and a few fisherman have survived for 2000 years and Christianity is still going strong."
      I wouldn't call it funny. Sad would be more apt. It is also not surprising as the silly beliefs are passed from parent to child before the child has the ability to rationally evaluate the bullshit it is fed. By the time the child is old enough, it will have suffered so much indoctrination and abuse at the hands of those that are supposed to protect it that it is no longer able to shed the delusion.

      You said, "History has tried to demolish her, governments have tried to extinguish it, millions of Christians have been killed and we are going through the ebbs and flow."
      Persecution complex much?

      You said, "It's not popular being a Christian and it seems there is an exodus of people leaving the church but we have been here before and a Revival will take place and a genuine repentance will occur and The Church will thrive Gods people will rejoice."
      Still some 80% of the US claims to be christian. That's hardly "unpopular".

      You said, "And not every Christian is a dumb hick from the hills without an education or common sense."
      True, not every one, just most. Those that are educated must compartmentalize to shield their precious fairy tale from reality.

      You said, "Bring whatever arguments you have"
      That's a large part of the problem. Believers will reject, out of hand, any argument made against their fairy tale. They refuse to rationally evaluate anything that would cause a reasonable person to doubt the nonsense. It goes to show that if you could reason with believers, there wouldn't be any. It is also why believers are, justly, ridiculed.

      You said, "we still love and are praying for you and have no animosity towards you we love you and pray Christ will make his mark on you before you leave this world"
      Go ahead, pray for us, and we'll think for you.

      March 17, 2014 at 11:17 am |
      • dlcarr1985

        Your right it doesn't take much to make Christians look foolish because not every Christian is out to defend their faith with full force and have all knowledge of logic argument. I've made several atheist look foolish as well but not because they were ignorant but because I like conversations with atheist and volleying conversation back and forth and having a heathy argument. I don't have a martyr complex I was just referring to the 100 million Christians killed during the Inquisition. It's just personal to me because I am a Christian. There's a lot of Christians that try to prove there is a God. I had a picture of him but I lost it lol jk jk. But as a Christian I wasn't indoctrinated by my parents they weren't even Christians. Why do we have to prove there is a God? I will hold on to the believe that salvation is through Christ and forgiveness of sins. There is a Heaven to gain for the Christians. All the details and factions of Christianity aren't big deals we have our differences but we don't need our belief taken from us or rid this earth of belief. This is going to sound counter productive but you can no more prove there isn't a God no more than I can prove with physical evidence that there is one.

        March 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • Akira

          "I don’t have a martyr complex I was just referring to the 100 million Christians killed during the Inquisition."

          Not close to being true. Not one bit of truth in this number, not to mention that the majority of those executed were Muslim and Jewish who refused to convert.
          I don't know where you got your information from, but they flat out lied to you.

          100 million. Puhleeze.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • LinCA

          @dlcarr1985

          You said, "Your right it doesn't take much to make Christians look foolish because not every Christian is out to defend their faith with full force and have all knowledge of logic argument."
          Those that are capable of putting together a logical argument must decline to do so, as there hasn't been one presented yet. Ever.

          You said, "I've made several atheist look foolish as well but not because they were ignorant but because I like conversations with atheist and volleying conversation back and forth and having a heathy argument."
          I encourage you to present an argument to show that christianity isn't an infantile belief.

          You said, "I don't have a martyr complex I was just referring to the 100 million Christians killed during the Inquisition."
          Do you realize that the Inquisition was perpetrated by the catholic church? Last I checked, catholics are christians and believe most of the same nonsense as other christians.

          You said, "It's just personal to me because I am a Christian. There's a lot of Christians that try to prove there is a God."
          It's a fool's errant, I agree. Since there is not a single shred of evidence to support the claim that there is such a creature, it is no more reasonable to believe it exists than it is to believe the Tooth fairy exists, or the Easter Bunny.

          You said, "But as a Christian I wasn't indoctrinated by my parents they weren't even Christians."
          Are you saying that you were raised in a different faith than christianity, or that your parents were atheists?

          If it is the latter, and you were raised in a non-religious home, I wonder how you fell for the nonsense. What was it that convinced you there is a god? Who did the convincing?

          If it is the former, you more than likely were led to believe that there is a god (maybe a different one that the one you believe in now) by you parents. You may not have liked their particular interpretation of the fairy tale, and found one that you like better. While not extremely common, people switch religions all the time. This happens most often at the prodding of someone else. Someone who asserts a strong influence on the believer. This can be a loved one (marriage is often a cause for conversion), or a particularly charismatic speaker.

          You said, "Why do we have to prove there is a God?"
          You don't have to. You are free to remain blissfully ignorant. But if you make a claim that there is such a creature, and by stating that you are a believer you implicitly do, you should expect to be queried on it. You can't expect to make an unsubstantiated claim and it to be left unchallenged. Especially a claim that is at the core of religion.

          You will be asked to support your claim because the notion of such a character is ridiculous. It is completely unreasonable to believe it exists. And by extension, the religions that are built on such irrational beliefs are ridiculous.

          You said, "I will hold on to the believe that salvation is through Christ and forgiveness of sins."
          Like I said, you are free to believe such nonsense and remain willfully ignorant.

          You said, "There is a Heaven to gain for the Christians."
          That is an unsubstantiated claim. There is no reason to believe it to be true.

          You said, "All the details and factions of Christianity aren't big deals we have our differences but we don't need our belief taken from us or rid this earth of belief."
          Given the detrimental effect religion has on society, we would all be better off if we embraced reality instead of fairy tales.

          You said, "This is going to sound counter productive but you can no more prove there isn't a God no more than I can prove with physical evidence that there is one."
          It's not necessarily counter productive if you are willing to honestly evaluate my response and follow it to its logical conclusion.

          You are correct that I can't prove that there are no gods. I don't know, with 100% certainty, that there aren't any. But I also can't know, with 100% certainty, that there are no creatures like the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, or any of the other gods ever worshiped. If you accept your argument as sufficient to believe your god exists, you should accept it as sufficient to believe Thor exists, and Zeus, and Ra, and the Easter Bunny, and the Loch Ness monster, and Santa Claus, and every imaginary creature ever invented by man.

          Do you? Do you believe all those creatures exist too? If not, why? What makes your god so different? You've already admitted that there is no evidence for it. Is it because you like the fairy tale about it? Do you like the empty promise of an afterlife? Do you fear the equally empty threat of eternal damnation?

          Given the fact that the origins of your god can be traced to ignorant and superstitious people of the Bronze Age, it is far more likely to be a figment than real.

          March 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • joey3467

          The Inquisition was run by Christians so you might not want to use that as an example.

          March 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Being a Christian isn't popular?
      Almost 1/3 of the world's population profess to being Christian.
      Christians outnumber the runner up religion (Islam) by a half billion followers.

      Are Christians more unpopular than non-believers in the US?
      At least seven states–Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas–have in place const.itutional provisions that bar atheists from holding public office. One state (Arkansas) even has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial.

      Perhaps you should take a closer look at that persecution complex....

      March 17, 2014 at 11:18 am |
    • kudlak

      dlcarr1985
      1 Corinthians 1:23
      but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

      See, even Paul recognized that what he was selling does, indeed, sound like foolishness. Why are you upset by this?

      March 17, 2014 at 11:33 am |
    • wilburw7

      Well said.

      March 17, 2014 at 11:58 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      "trying to make Christians look foolish."

      We have little to do with it, christians do a very good job of making themselves look foolish...we simply point out where you're being foolish.
      If you're so secure in your god, you shouldn't feel threatened by us.

      March 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
      • dlcarr1985

        It's funny that you feel that I feel threatened I just like having conversations and I am a fool for Christ sake I like that post up above about the apostle Paul. Because it's so true.

        March 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          It is extremely foolish to believe in a god that condones slavery; rape; murder; idolatry; oppression women; oppression of LGBT; a god that would allow its own child to be sacrificed for numerous generations of man that it intends to make flawed anyways.
          Why would you make such a moronic statement about us trying to make you look foolish if you weren't somehow threatened? You should be worried that we're no longer sitting back and allowing christians to suppress us; once people start to see the truth of your book the belief will start to fail and for world peace we need to see that happen.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • dlcarr1985

          You have no concept of the Bible or what God condones or what he doesn't. I'm surprised you even know anything in the Bible or why you try to make statements on the behalf of a God since you're an atheist. Why would you say something that you have no idea about. There's no peace til atheist take over eh? Look at statistics since the 60s when they took the bible and prayer out of the public schools and tell me how much peace we have been having in our public schools.

          March 17, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          dlcarr: Correction, I am a recovering christian and am just as qualified to speak on the bible as you or anyone else is. Taking the bible and prayer out of school is to respect the freedom of other innocent children who may not believe as you do. It only means that teachers can't lead a prayer of any form nor can they teach using a holy book of any form. If you wish to touch on the negative, you can't blame Atheists considering a whopping 76% of the prison population is christian with a mere 1% being Atheist.
          Are you claiming that your god ordering the drowning of all of its creation is not murder? Are you saying that this is not your gods word: Galatians Chapter 5

          19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

          20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

          21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.? Or this: Ephesians 6:5
          Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, ?

          You are a bit of a control freak if you think you have the slightest right to tell anyone what they can and can't speak on, especially when most Atheists were once christian and the greatest path to Atheism is an open-minded read of the bible. Considering most christians don't agree on the correct interpretation of their holy book, even my cat is qualified to speak on it.

          I'm surprised you think you qualify to say anything about Atheists considering the amount of hate for us that you have in your stone-cold heart. You worship a god that is not worthy of worship and if it were to make an appearance would be in prison for its crimes against humanity. You're simply a gullible fool lied to about places and things that outside of your holy book, there is no justification for believing in.

          March 17, 2014 at 8:27 pm |
        • otoh2

          dlcarr1985,

          There was probably no other time in history that Christianity was in *everything* than in 1300s Europe. The Church (and its "God") ruled everyone's lives - education, politics, economics, art, literature, history-writing, science - everything. There was no peace. And at least 1/2 of the entire population died from the Black Plague (spread in part by religious travellers). So much for including your "God" character in society.

          (p.s. The 60s was about the time that they took Nehi soda out of the public schools - shouldn'ta done it!)

          March 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • dlcarr1985

          Ok so I'm not going to win an argument but yes I agree about the nehi soda. And all the descriptions you've made of God sounds more like the politicians in the government

          March 17, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • doobzz

      How did Christianity last so long? Well, a lot of it has to do with Christians torturing, imprisoning, and killing anyone who didn't become a Christian over the last 2000 years. It's easy to increase your numbers at the point of a sword or a gun.

      March 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
      • dlcarr1985

        Doobzz you have smoked too many doobzz. Religion has killed people especially papacy but true Christianity has never killed anyone. It's hard for atheist to distinguish between the 2.

        March 17, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
        • doobzz

          This is just a No True Scotsman fallacy dressed in different words.

          March 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
  12. revrickm

    Quoting from the article, "Beware of most of these revelations; many are based on pure speculation and wishful thinking. Much of what we know about Jesus has been known for the last 2,000 years."

    As a Jesuit, known as the intellectuals among Catholic clergy, I am surprised that Rev. Martin makes such a claim. The books of the New Testament were written decades after Jesus' death, and at best were written based on oral traditions about Jesus. None of the Gospel writers were eye witnesses to any of Jesus words or miracles. And the Gospels themselves were written by unknown authors. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are names that were attributed to those books by tradition, but in truth no one actually knows who wrote them. So, in terms of "speculation", the Gospels, and in fact much of the New Testament, falls into the same category.

    March 17, 2014 at 10:35 am |
  13. Vic

    ♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰ ♰ ♰.

    March 17, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      LOL

      March 17, 2014 at 10:43 am |
    • MidwestKen

      @Vic,
      ... unlikely.

      March 17, 2014 at 11:17 am |
    • kudlak

      And Elvis is still The King!!! 🙂

      March 17, 2014 at 11:35 am |
  14. Troy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=kojJQsaMC3g

    March 17, 2014 at 10:26 am |
    • Troy

      Jesus, there's something about that Name!

      March 17, 2014 at 10:26 am |
      • Troy

        Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
        There's just something about that Name.
        Master, Savior, Jesus,
        Like the fragrance after the rain.
        Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
        Let all heaven and earth proclaim,
        Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
        But there's something about that Name.

        March 17, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • ausphor

          Five foot nine, so sublime
          Changes water into wine
          Has anybody seen my Lord
          He's so neat he so cool
          Walks across my swimming pool
          Has anybody seen my Lord
          If you don into a bearded Jew
          Head full of thorns His blood is wine, His flesh is bread

          March 17, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • ausphor

          Oops premie post, to conclude ...
          Raises people from the dead.
          Has anybody seen my LLOORRDD.

          The tune of has anybody seen my gal.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:42 am |
    • Vic

      The the Geithers' is one of my favorite Sensational Gospel Music ever.

      God bless.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:30 am |
  15. douglasjohnson99

    For all the believers out there, please answer these questions sincerely, as these are sincere questions.

    1. Do you believe that there is a "God", creator of all things?
    2. Do you believe that all humans have a "soul" in which will separate from the physical body after death, in which it will either spend an eternity in heaven or hell.
    3. Do you believe that the "God" in question 1 will either A) allow you to enter heaven or B)send you to hell, or otherwise prevent the soul (See question 2) from entering heaven in which this separation from "God" is labeled hell.
    4. If the answer to all three of these questions are yes, Do you believe that it is morally justified to worship God?

    If the answer to Question 4 is yes, then this is the equivalent to condoning or justifying the actions of a person who confines another person against their will. Typically, when these 'monsters' are caught, they spend the rest of their life in jail, some are executed by the state or federal government for their 'crime.'

    Please answer this question if the answer to Question 4 is yes. "Why is it morally justified to worship a "God" who allows souls to be eternally tortured, or otherwise be in a eternal state of torment?"

    March 17, 2014 at 10:21 am |
    • ausphor

      DJ99
      If you are suggesting that all Christians have a form of Stockholm syndrome, I agree.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:25 am |
    • douglasjohnson99

      If all the stories in the bible are proven to be true (i.e. that god actually revealed him self and there is undeniable proof), I would do everything in my power to fight against God to prevent him from torturing another soul. I would curse him till the end of my days. I can't worship a monster.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:28 am |
    • kevin7harris

      Yes, I am a Christian Theist, so I of course believe God exists and that the soul interacts with, yet is separate from, the body. I believe that we have become separated from God and that God's remedy is Jesus. If we reject God's only remedy, we will remain separated from God (a destination the scriptures call "Hell").

      March 17, 2014 at 10:28 am |
      • douglasjohnson99

        Kevin, can you please answer the last question. "Why is it morally justified to worship a "God" who allows souls to be eternally tortured, or otherwise be in a eternal state of torment?"

        March 17, 2014 at 10:31 am |
        • kevin7harris

          I don't know what God you're talking about! The God that Jesus taught wants to prevent the eternal torment of separation from himself! "For God did not send his son to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved".

          The holy, just, and righteous God has provided a way out of eternal separation. But God will not violate free will in that provision.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • chris1087

          God would cease to be God if he answered to anything. We are creatures not creator, we don't make the rules.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:50 am |
      • douglasjohnson99

        Kevin Harris, Yes or No, Do you worship a god that will send me to hell (I'm not a believer), in which i will be eternally tortured?
        Yes or No, Do you condone a man that locks up and tortures women?
        If your answer to either of these questions are yes, you are morally bankrupt. You are no different than a man that locks up and tortures women. You are a disgusting human being.

        March 17, 2014 at 10:49 am |
        • kevin7harris

          No, I worship a God that allows us to send ourselves because God will not violate free will.

          No, I do not condone torture. Thankfully, I serve a God who does not "eternally torture" anyone!

          March 17, 2014 at 10:53 am |
        • douglasjohnson99

          I chose to not go to hell when I die. I choose to lie underground (with the help of my family and friends) for eternity. I consider this choice final. I do not believe in JC. Therefore, if I am sent to hell, your God will have to send me there, eternally torturing me, against my free will of not going to hell. There is no such thing as free will when it comes to your god.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:09 am |
    • seedenbetter

      I think you'll find that most Christians, if they will even answer questions #4, will give the standard "Satan is very powerful", "The lord works in mysterious ways", "free will" or some such. The mental gymnastics required is truly astounding.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:38 am |
      • kevin7harris

        Free will is a factor here. What is your objection to that?

        March 17, 2014 at 11:03 am |
        • Alias

          Free Will is an excuse to blame yourself for god's lack of compassion and morality.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • seedenbetter

          So, basically your god says believe in and worship me and grovel at my feet, you filthy sinner who I created, or burn for eternity in the unquenchable flames of hell. But...you have the free will to make the choice between the two. What a most disgusting, repulsive belief system.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • Sungrazer

          Two objections offhand:

          1) An omnipotent god could've made it such that we could choose from alternatives that were equally good.

          2) An omnipotent, omnibenevolent god would not allow natural evil (evil that doesn't result from the actions of man).

          March 17, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • linsea50

          Sungrazer, I'm curious as to what the basis is for your first argument. And for your second argument, have you considered that part of God's plan for us is that we face evil and that by doing so, we can gain the strength to overcome it? And that is why He allows evil to exist? That He wants us to grow and learn?

          March 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          "I'm curious as to what the basis is for your first argument."

          The basis for my first argument is simply that it doesn't follow from having free will that the choices have to between good and evil. The choices could be between good and bad, or good and good. Are you able to sin in heaven? If yes, that is a different conversation altogether. If no, does that mean you don't have free will in heaven? The answer is no. Why, then, can there not be a heaven on earth?

          "[H]ave you considered that part of God's plan for us is that we face evil and that by doing so, we can gain the strength to overcome it?"

          This is grotesque reasoning. If one day one of your loved ones were to be submitted to something unspeakably evil, I would not find it admirable if you praised god because it gave him or her an opportunity to confront evil. I would also judge god to fall short of omnibenevolence.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          To clarify, by "the answer is no", I meant that that not being able to sin in heaven does not mean you don't have free will. You have free will, but anything immoral is not one of the options from which you can choose. To restate, if it is possible to not sin in heaven while at the same time having free will, then why was this not possible on Earth?

          March 17, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
    • Vic

      Matters of the Divine Realm are above our pay grade.

      God is Sovereign and has Divine Will, Wisdom, Justice, and Command, that we do not know nor understand everything about and how they totally work. That is not detrimental to our belief/faith in His existence.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:44 am |
      • Alias

        So you know it is not logical, rational, or reasonable – but you are going to believe it anyway.

        March 17, 2014 at 10:54 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "Matters of the Divine Realm are above our pay grade."

        I like how CHristians are fine to make speicific claims of fact regarding god....up to a point...and then we get

        "God works in mysterious ways"

        "Gods ways are not our ways"

        "Matters of the Divine Realm are above our pay grade." ect., ect, ect.

        March 17, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • kudlak

        Vic
        You say these matters are above our pay grade, but then you assert absolute, positive knowledge of some of these matters. Am I missing something, or did you just contradict yourself?

        March 17, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • Vic

          I usually highlight/emphasize "everything" but I forgot this time.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • Vic

          Oh..plus, we are told about some of those "above our pay grade Matters of the Divine Realm" by God Himself, hence "Special Revelation," aka "Scripture."

          March 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Oh..plus, we are told about some of those "above our pay grade Matters of the Divine Realm" by God Himself, hence "Special Revelation," aka "Scripture."

          Except for the fact that all "revelation" comes through people as claims about what god said...."god himself" has never said anything.

          You will have to excuse me if I don't take human claims about what god "said" seriously.

          March 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
  16. pmar2014

    Jesus never specified that one had to give money to a church, synagogue or whatever, to experience spiritual awakening and salvation. What he offered is free.

    March 17, 2014 at 10:05 am |
    • ausphor

      Oh Dear. A heretic, don't say that around a fundie convention you would likely get stomped to death.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:22 am |
    • Vic

      Exactly right.

      The Lord Jesus Christ in His Ministry on earth was always practical in His Service rather than a legalist. He practically instituted "prosperity" by giving drinks and feeding the multitudes—e.g. turning water to wine at Cana, feeding the 5000 with only two fish and five loaves of bread, etc., let alone healing the sick and restoring life.

      We have the Epitome of Serving Humanity in the the Lord Jesus Christ.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:24 am |
      • ausphor

        Vic
        From someone who says Osteen and Schuller are two of his favorite pastors, that also happen to be a couple of the best conmen in the biz.

        March 17, 2014 at 10:30 am |
      • mk

        If he was so loving and healing people and all, why was his "dad" so vengeful?

        March 17, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • Vic

          Matters of the Divine Realm are above hour pay grade.

          God is Sovereign and has Divine Will, Wisdom, Justice, and Command, that we do not know nor understand everything about and how they totally work. That is not detrimental to our belief/faith in His existence.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • Vic

          "our"

          March 17, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • mk

          Hmm...so it isn't necessary for you to understand why a god would wipe out hordes of people, yet his own "son" healed and fed people. You just figure there's got to be some divine reason and call that "faith"? Interesting.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:48 am |
      • MidwestKen

        @Vic,
        Just curious,.why don't christians or the church feed people the same way?

        March 17, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • Vic

          Well, in general, the christian churches lead the pack of all charities when it comes to feeding and sheltering the poor/destitute and/or homeless.

          Now, regarding the supernatural act of prosperity, that's exclusive to God, hence Jesus Christ's turning water to wine, multiplying the two fish and five loaves of bread, etc.

          March 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
    • kudlak

      This is true. Jesus just said to sell all that you own and give that to the poor. Which is something that anyone can do without the middlemen of clergy, or even specifically Christian charities.

      He never said to sell just a tenth of what you have annually, and give that to him or his apostles, trusting that some will filter down to the poor after they take their share, as is the custom in all Christian churches these days. Jesus never even hinted that charity ought to be tax exempt. How far would Christianity have gone without the infrastructure of Roman roads and ports, all paid with tax money? How far would todays churches get without the things that tax money builds and maintains? Clearly, they are taking advantage of a free ride.

      March 17, 2014 at 11:58 am |
  17. Dyslexic doG

    If anyone would like to study the ancient god Dionysus from Greece in 500 BC you would see striking similarities to the story of the christian jesus. The story isn't exact but it's obvious that large parts of the jesus story in the bible (written centuries after the jesus character's death) come from the much earlier story of Dionysus from another earlier religion and another civilization.

    March 17, 2014 at 10:01 am |
    • Alias

      I get it now!
      God kept inpregnating women until one group claimed him!
      THAT is how the jews became his chosen people!
      It is all so clear. I don't know how I ddin't see it before ....

      March 17, 2014 at 10:57 am |
    • linsea50

      Knowledge of the coming of Christ and what He would do was around for thousands of years before Dionysus, Mithra, Attis, or Krishna. Have you considered that bits and portions of that knowledge was incorporated into the stories of Dionysis, Mithra, et al?

      March 17, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    If anyone would like to study the ancient god Krishna from India in 900BC you would see striking similarities to the story of the christian jesus. The story isn't exact but it's obvious that large parts of the jesus story in the bible (written centuries after the jesus character's death) come from the much earlier story of Krishna from another earlier religion and another civilization.

    March 17, 2014 at 10:00 am |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    If anyone would like to study the ancient god Mithra from Persia in 1200BC you would see striking similarities to the story of the christian jesus. The story isn't exact but it's obvious that large parts of the jesus story in the bible (written centuries after the jesus character's death) come from the much earlier story of Mithra from another earlier religion and another civilization.

    March 17, 2014 at 10:00 am |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    If anyone would like to study the ancient god Attis from Greece in 1500 BC you would see striking similarities to the story of the christian jesus. The story isn't exact but it's obvious that large parts of the jesus story in the bible (written centuries after the jesus character's death) come from the much earlier story of Attis from another earlier religion and another civilization.

    March 17, 2014 at 10:00 am |
    • wilburw7

      Every time one of those accusations are made someone looks up those stories and the similarities are forced at best. Jesus' death on the cross for the redemption of mankind is a very very unique idea taken from no other story whatsoever.

      March 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Justin Martyr seems to disagree with you on that.

        "And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without s.exual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter."

        -Justin Martyr

        March 17, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.